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The Making of Rocket Boys/October Sky

The Making of
Rocket Boys / October Sky
As Seen Through the Eyes
of the Movie Extras

by Barbara Hilemon

118 pages
Softbound (printed on glossy paper)
8.5 inches x 11 inches

Barbara Hilemon's book contains almost 300 color photographs taken during the filming of the movie October Sky.  (Note: While the movie was being filmed, the working title of the movie was Rocket Boys.  Before the movie was released, Universal changed the title to October Sky.)

The majority of the pictures are simply labeled with the names of the people in the picture.  For example, "JAKE GYLLENHALL & Steve Gentry."  (The credited members of the cast and crew are shown in capital letters.)

The table below gives you an approximate number of photographs in which certain people appear:

Homer Hickam 12
Linda Hickam 2
Elsie Hickam 2
Jake Gyllenhall
(Homer Hickam)
William Lee Scott
(Roy Lee)
Chad Lindberg
Chris Owen
Joe Johnston
Chris Cooper
(John Hickam)
Randy Stripling
(Leon Bolden)
Scott Thomas
(Jim Hickam)
Natalie Canerday
(Elsie Hickam)
Laura Dern
(Miss Riley)

In addition to candid shots of cast members, crew members and extras, there are some interesting photos of different things:

Several shots of the Greyhound bus used in the filming.

Two dozen pictures of the 1950s vehicles used in the filming.

Interesting photos of the coal miners (extras).

Interesting shots of the Coalwood Big Store interior set from the movie.  (This was filmed in a building in downtown Oliver Springs, Tennessee.)  [Read an interesting article by one of the men who created this set!]

Seven photographs of the exterior of the movie theater used in the movie.  The theater was supposed to be in Indianapolis, Indiana, but it was really filmed in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Half a dozen shots of the train used in the movie.


The book also contains a text listing of the full cast and crew of the movie.

My only disappointment in the book is that it doesn't contain any text narrative. I would love to have read some stories of what went on during the filming, how the extras got selected, etc. I would also like to have seen a list of the filming locations.


Order Form

You may order the book directly from the author.
Please click here for an order form which you may print out and mail.  (The form opens in Microsoft Word.)  The cost of the book is $30.00 per copy and includes postage in the United States.




Below is an interesting article about Barbara's book from The Oak Ridger [newspaper] in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

In order to read the article, you have to complete a short registration form.  The good news, however, is that it's free.

"Movie extra writes book about 'October Sky' experience"
April 14, 2000

Note: many of the telephone numbers in the article are no longer valid numbers.  The best way to order Barbara's book is by mail:
Please click here for an order form which you may print out and mail.